Queen of Schmootz



I hope that when I’ve long left this earth, I will be remembered for my purees, mashes, or quite simply put, schmootz’s. I love to experiment with different ingredients and never tire of creating new combinations. The dip on the left has its origins in one of my favorite cookbooks from the fabulous Greek restaurant in New York City, Periyali. It is simply made from grated cooked beets and yogurt. I used sheep’s milk yogurt for this recipe but you can use any plain yogurt. Sometimes, I make a trio of these dips, yellow and red beets respectively, and then a cucumber raita for the third. It looks beautiful.

Adapted from the Periyali Cookbook

1/2 Lb Red Beet , cooked and cooled fully (yellow is lovely too) – you can take a short cut and use drained canned beets
1 small Red Onion, green onions can also be used
1 small clove of garlic, minced fine – optional
1/2 Cup plain yogurt, cow, sheep or goat
Salt and Pepper to taste
Squeeze of lemon juice.

Grate the beets on the large end of a box grater. Stir in the red onion and add the yogurt. Season with lemon, salt and pepper. Serve with crostini or sliced cucmbers.

The photo on the right features 2 mashies, one from yellow split peas and the other from lima beans. I was first introuced to the lima bean mash at the wonderful Market Hall in Oakland on College Ave. There they call it lima bean skordalia.  It is really wonderful.

This makes a beautiful light green spread. It can be used on grilled chicken, as well as served with crostini. Use it on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.

1 lb frozen baby lima beans
5 Tbsp. fresh lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
¾ cup high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Refresh the lima beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Place in a food processor with the lemon juice and chopped garlic. With the machine running, add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
The last mash I just recently tried. Its origins are from a recipe that I saved from Saveur magazine.  It was contributed by Diane Kochilas. I love yellow split peas.  They are very versatile so while I only used about 2 cups of the cooked split peas for this mash, I am using the rest of the cooked beans in soups and pastas the rest of this week.
1 Lb. yellow split peas
2 large red onions, finely diced
7 Cups water (or chicken stock for a richer flavor)
2 to 3 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
Extra Virgin Olive oil, to taste
2 Tbsp. fresh Parsley
Feta cheese, crumbled on top
Chives as a garnish
Place the split peas in the water or stock and add the onions. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and cook, skimming the foam that rises to the top off, until split peas are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. The water will evaporate so make sure to stir occasionally to ensure that the peas do not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Allow the peas to cool slightly. Take 2 cups for the puree and season with the remaining ingredients, except the feta and chives. It will thicken up as it cools.  Serve puree on top of a craker, pita crisp or crostini of choice.  Garnish with feta and chives.

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